Fretercise Part 1
Jacqueline detested that the air-conditioning gave out at the worst possible time, right in the middle of the hottest heat wave Tampa had ever had. The heat oppressed her and she did not wish to move from her spot surrounded by two fans. She hated hot weather, having spent much of her life growing up in Iowa. She favoured the cool days of autumn and spring over a single day in the summer. She had come to Florida for her education and not for the weather. It was days like this she questioned why she agreed to follow her life-long friend Stacy to Florida, but she did. As she laid on the couch, waiting for Arnold to arrive home, she looked down at her mobile and saw he was running unusually late today.
“He's normally very punctual.” she thought to herself. “Why would he be late on our anniversary. What could be keeping him?” Perhaps it was the overbearing humidity which was getting to her, but she felt a massive pressure weighing her down.
The sweat dripped down Jacqueline's neck and onto her chest while she recalled the day she joined Werner Chemicals. It was on a sunny Monday in July, nearly as hot as it was today. She came on board as Werner Chemicals' new Junior Media Analyst. She was fresh out of university and it was an amazing job to land since WC was the largest chemical company in all of Florida. She was excited to be involved in making sure that their media outreach was successful. Gone are the days that people see industry as progress, now companies like WC are viewed as just evil stooges. Certainly there were several chemical companies in the past that handily deserved that reputation, but WC had built itself up by setting itself apart from them. That is what most attracted her to apply for the position; she would help shape the public's understanding about what WC stood for and did to improve their daily lives.
It was her first day at a real job and the day that she met Arnold. They didn't meet immediately and she went most of her day never knowing of his existence. In fact, her first day there was wholly unremarkable as it was filled with the general “Welcome to the Company” activities. However, when the last hour of her first day grew near, this was the time that Robert approached her.
“How has your first day gone Jacqueline?” Robert inquired. He was a tallish man, around 1.8 m, and slightly pudgy around 85 kg. What was most striking was his irregular balding pattern in his charcoal hair. Jacqueline couldn't help herself but notice it each time. Robert seemed a decent guy, which was a relief as he was the senior media analyst and she would be working with him everyday.
“It's been busy. Lots of people and just finding my way back to my desk is sometimes an adventure.” She replied light-heartedly. “Why do I say stupid stuff like that?” she chastised herself silently, “It's not even funny.”
Robert gave a short lived smile at her attempt at humour. “Yeah, the place is huge, but you'll get use to it.” It seemed clear to Jacqueline that he was trying to let her gracefully avoid embarrassment from her terrible response. She had the reputation in school of always putting her foot in her mouth and saying comments like those. She had hoped that when she started her career she would stop doing it. Sadly this seemed not to be true. Robert continued, “A bunch of us are going to grab a drink and food after work, would you like to join us? It'll be a good chance to meet more people outside of marketing.”
Normally Jacqueline didn't like going out, she detested large crowds. However, this time, perhaps in an effort to make up for her social awkwardness, she was going to step outside her normal boundaries. “I'd be happy to.” Even as the words escaped her mouth, she regretted her decision. However, it was certainly too late now to change her mind, at least not without looking foolish again. It is choices made in the moment that often dramatically shape or entirely reform the course of our life. This was just such a decision and Jacqueline couldn't possibly know it would shape her greatly.
“Great, we'll all meet at McKelly's Pub down the street heading towards ABC Pizza.” Robert replied, as he laid down a small booklet. “Here's your copy of the employee manual. See you after work.” He walked away leaving her alone with her thoughts.
Image "Chemistry building" provided by flickr.com - spyffe CCA, https://flic.kr/p/51PfS6
Image "Worry" provided by flickr.com - bylauryn CCA, https://flic.kr/p/eaDJ5G